homer hedge

Management at City firms that pay their NQs circa £70k

Ashurst is the latest firm to announce a pay rise for its newly qualified solicitors, guaranteeing them a six figure salary. 

Ashurst's NQs are currently on a base salary of £90,000, with the possibility that a discretionary bonus would take them over six figures. The firm's new NQ salary of £105,000, plus the discretionary bonus, will take effect in May 2022. 

"We continuously monitor market conditions, remuneration trends and movements and make targeted adjustments where necessary," a spokeswoman for Ashurst told RollOnFriday.

Once the rise comes into effect, Ashurst's NQs will be on the same base salary as their peers at Herbert Smith Freehills and Baker McKenzie, following recent pay hikes at those firms. 

NQs at those three firms will be placed just a couple of grand below their counterparts at Magic Circle firms Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy, Linklaters and Slaughter and May who are on £107,5000, and a tad above NQs at Freshfields, Macfarlanes, Hogan Lovells and Simmons & Simmons, who are on £100k.  

In the rung below, just shy of six figures, CMS, BCLP and Norton Rose Fulbright, offer NQs a base salary of £95k. 

As the pay battle for juniors heats up, in a different stratosphere, the £140k+ club is a US-only affair, whose members include Shearman & Sterling, Debevoise & Plimpton, Latham & Watkins, Milbank, Akin Gump, Simpson Thacher, and Kirkland & Ellis.

Vinson & Elkins boasts the biggest cash-spraying cannon, as the Houston-headquartered firm pays its London NQs an eye-watering base salary of £153,000.

Tip Off ROF


Perilous Pete 07 January 22 08:07

Effective from May 2022 while other firms have raised from November 2021? Always read the small print kids 

Tom 07 January 22 09:41

I’m actually most impressed by Freshfields. Deciding to pay a couple less K than the other Magic Circle firms will wheedle out those associates who are overly focused on their pay packets, as opposed to appreciating the unrivalled working culture and quality of work at FF.

Jerry 07 January 22 10:13

@Tom - "unrivalled working culture and quality of work" at Freshfields... which has an incredibly similar nature of work to every other MC firm... and where culture has been largely virtual/remote for the last 2 years (along with every other non-US firm)... pleased to hear you're happy, but if you actually work there, then come back down to earth with the perspective of your comments..

Anonymous 07 January 22 10:51

Let's play a game of "Spot the Freshfields PR representative".

If they fired some of their useless business services staff like you, Tom, they might be able to match the other firms. 

But more seriously, FF isn't hemorrhaging because they've quietly bumped 1PQE upwards (as opposed to, say, Slaughters, which is compressing the accordion a bit more with every NQ pay raise...)

Actually works at FBD 07 January 22 10:51

@Tom. They increased salaries further up the ranks (beyond the other MCs I suspect), so the annoyance at US firms poaching associates is also true here.

As for unrivalled work culture…lol.  It’s a normal office, it has its fair share of nice people and its fair share of tossers.  Probably more of the latter but depends on your team.

Quality of work is not massively different to anywhere else in the Magic Circle.

Sorry I haven’t drunk the Kool-Aid.

Anonymoose 07 January 22 12:16

Clifford Chance also boosted mid-level associate pay packets by a fairly decent whack last year.

Realist Associate 07 January 22 15:48

All city firms are sweatshops. No firm is special. None of us are special. Nobody outside of city law firms care about which firm is the best.

To Beggar 08 January 22 14:45

If BLM pay £45k for NQs in central London and that bothers you, get another job. If you can’t, or can’t be bothered, then that is what you are worth or worthy of. 

Either way, stop bloody moaning. You earn nearly a thousand pounds a week for working at a half decent firm in good conditions. 

Entitled pr!ck

RPC lawyer 08 January 22 17:41

And here we have my firm just sitting pretty at 70k with no sign of actually wanting to increase NQ salary in a meaningful way, yet expecting ridiculous hours in some departments for a meager pay packet. 

Related News